journalism | MIT Center for Civic Media

HOPE X: Themes and Reflections

Image by Willow Brugh.

Over the weekend, I attended HOPE X, the 10th Hackers on Planet Earth conference, organized by 2600 Magazine. HOPE is my favorite hacker conference, and a strong contender for my favorite conference overall, because although content is tech-heavy, it's not really about technology. HOPE is a conference by and for those interested in the hacker ethos of free information, understanding the world, and empowerment to fix what is broken— including keynote speakers Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg. So HOPE is a great place to think about the intersection of technology, journalism, and activism. Throughout the conference, I noticed several recurring themes.

Code Is Not Enough

HOPE X: SecureDrop: A WikiLeaks in Every Newsroom

Liveblogged at HOPE X.

Garrett Robinson, Security and Privacy Engineer, Mozilla
William Budington, Developer, EFF
Yan Zhu, Technologist, EFF

The Freedom of the Press Foundation processes payments for WikiLeaks and raises funds for encryption and free speech initiatives. Secure Drop is their open source whistleblower platform.

Thomas Drake leaked info on the NSA's Trailblazer program. He was indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage act in 2005. The act wasn't meant to be used on journalists, but that's what it's been used for. In recent years, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden have been prosecuted. There's an attack on whistleblowers, and there haven't been good tools to communicate with reporters.

Mind the Map: Toward a Handbook for Journalists

by Luisa Beck and Catherine D’Ignazio, with suggestions from the Participatory News class

“What is it we want our maps to be now, if no longer a single authoritative view or the world?” 
- Brooke Gladstone, Host of NPR’s On the Media

How Close to Home? Crisis, Attention and Geographic Bias


 Boston Marathon Bombings, April 15, 2013                Lushan Earthquake, April 20, 2013  

                               (Credit: AFP/Getty Images, National Geographic)

A Critical Geography of the News Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings

By Catherine D'Ignazio and Luisa Beck

Panorama de medios en Costa Rica

Costa Rica puede ser un reflejo, un microcosmo, de lo que acontece en forma global con respecto a los medios de comunicación, el periodismo, la libertad de expresión, y la democracia. Siempre contiene sus idiosincracias internas, pero en el escenario globalizado, ocurren patrones que se repiten alrededor del mundo.

Por ejemplo, el dueño de uno de los canales de televisión (Repretel Canal 6) y estación de radio (Monumental) más populares en el país, es también dueño de otros dos canales de tele, y doce estaciones de radio, además de 30 canales de tele y 70 de radio en toda América Latina. Ángel González, mexicano, podría decirse que es una versión miniatura de Rupert Murdoch: extranjero, dueño de una conglomeración de medios en muchos países, capitalista de la información.

Democratizar los medios

Para que una democracia funcione, la participación es clave. Si votar es el alcance de nuestra participación, podemos de una vez concluir que vivimos en una farsa democrática. Por eso, aún no existe la democracia, sólo el anhelo a ella. Para lograr en verdad llegar a la democracia, debemos ir más allá de ser espectadores del poder y crear nuestros propios espacios dentro del poder. Y al mismo tiempo, debemos ir más allá de nosotros mismos e interactuar (escuchar, debatir y actuar en conjunto) con los espacios de poder de los demás.

Lo mismo podemos concluir de los medios de comunicación, y de la información en general. Sino participamos en la creación de nuestra información, y nos resignamos nada más a ser lectores pasivos (espectadores) de lo que ocurre alrededor del mundo, somos vehículos que se pueden manipular fácilmente por aquellos que sí crean su propia información y la propagan de forma masiva. Nosotros sí pensamos, pero pensamos lo que otros piensan, hasta que nosotros mismos podamos llegar a producir e imaginar nuestro propio mundo.

Sourcemap'd: Grain Drain in the Rocky Mountain West

(This is part of what we hope will be a larger series; a more comprehensive look at the communities using Sourcemap and those interesting uses they have developed.)

The University of Montana's School of Journalism collaborated with us over the past term by using Sourcemap as part of a class on online news. Our collaborator, Lee Banville, wanted to connect journalism students in his class with tools and technologies that construct perspectives and develop narrative frameworks for the web. In practice, this ranged from ideas on crowd-sourced feedback and commentary to devices like web mapping that drive new presentations of stories.

Open Park Spring Internship

Open Park, a new project in collaborative digital media production of the Center for Future Civic Media, is now accepting applications for its Spring Semester Internship.

Are you a full-time student with a creative mind and cool concepts for re-creating collaboration? Do you have in mind an ideal model for digital news and media production? And would you like to work with your own team of collaborators on these ideas, all the while gaining great experience in an interestingly challenging and innovative environment, and a great portfolio to show off at the end? And for credit of course!..

If so, check our application requirements at:

Contact: Florence Gallez

Open Park: Phase II & Summer Plans

"The pictures told the story of all of them, from different planets, representing different ethics, united by a common bond - the galactic Co-operation."

"Once you find your place in the galactic Co-operation - and I assure you that it is an important place - your fighting will stop. Why should you fight, which is an unnatural occupation, when you can push?"

"Specialist," Robert Sheckley

The Future of News for College Journalism: A Few Questions

Recently over at Populous we've been grappling with a few huge questions--none of them are new but they have interesting facets when put in the context of a college (or community) newspaper:

1) What is the exact relationship between user generated content and news gathered by a newsroom?

In larger-scale newspapers, there are comments, large maps and photo uploads. We, at the Daily Bruin, where we'll be testing our software, have a readership that can interact with the content on a local level (notwithstanding the epic amounts of sports fans and alums/parents visiting the site from around the country and globe) so rather than a spread out community, our readers generally live next to each other in dorms and congregate in large auditoriums and stadiums--what does this mean for the way they will develop online content and read hyperlocal news?

2) What are new revenue models for news or old ones that can be reconfigured online?